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Columbia Women's Firwood Core Trousers review: no-frills protection, rain or shine

A lightweight, utilitarian hiking pant that staves off light rain and strong sun for walking in mild conditions

Columbia Firwood Core Trousers
(Image: © Columbia)

Our Verdict

These classic-cut utility pants provide all the lightweight comfort you need for mild weather hiking, repelling the rain on wet days and providing sun protection on clear days

For

  • Lightweight
  • Water repellent
  • Stretchy and comfortable
  • Affordable

Against

  • Not insulated
  • Not windproof
  • Not very breathable

Columbia Women's Firwood Core Trousers: first impressions 

On the rack, these super lightweight hiking trousers have a utilitarian appeal and are great for those looking for function over fashion on the trail. The fabric is soft and extra stretchy for comfort and freedom in movement.

They boast advanced water repellency and UPF sun protection so they can be worn in light rain, over pants or long underwear on cool days, or on their own on dry, bright days. 

These straight leg, mid-rise hiking pants have roll-up hems with tab holders that you can use to shorten the pants if it’s warm out, or so the ends don’t end up trailing through the mud. With five pockets, there's plenty of storage, though only two have a zipper. The waist is partially elastic and does not have belt loops.

All in all these are functional, practical, comfortable hiking pants good for mild weather at a reasonable price.

Specifications

• RRP: $60 / £65
• Sizes available: US 2 - 16 / UK 6 - 18
• Materials: Nylon (94%), elastane (6%)  
• Colors: Black, Stone green, Dark nocturnal
• Best use: Hiking

Columbia Women's Firwood Core Trousers: on the trails 

Columbia Firwood Core Trousers

All in all these are functional, practical, comfortable hiking pants good for mild weather at a reasonable price (Image credit: Columbia)

I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable these pants were compared to other, sturdier hiking pants I own. They felt soft, light and extra stretchy which made them perfect for a late summer evening hike.

They are definitely a non-nonsense approach to hiking pants, favoring a basic, straight-leg cut. They’re not insulated, but built to withstand light rain and protect you from strong sun so they’re great for spring and fall hiking, and being lightweight they work in some summer conditions, though they’re not very breathable. 

I tested a size 8, which would typically fit me well and these were a little large on me. I didn’t need a belt to hold them up – which is good because they don’t have belt loops – but they were a little loose and too long. On the upside of that, there’s plenty of room to wear them over long underwear for added insulation, and the roll-up hems with tab holders let you adjust the length for both style and function.

Overall these seem like a functional, lightweight hiking pant good for milder weather hikes.

Here’s how they performed:

Sizing

They run a little on the large and long side, so if you are on the small end of your sizing, you might want to size down. If you’re on the large end of your sizing, they’re very stretchy with a partial elastic waist and roll up hems for adaptability. 

Fit

On me, these are just a basic, straight cut leg that run slightly on the loose side, great if you prefer some breathing room or want to wear these over long underwear. They may be a little more shapely and flattering if you size down.

Comfort 

These pants definitely stand out for comfort. The combination of lightweight, soft fabric and extra stretch create a sort of barely-there feeling that means you can move easily when you’re hiking and relax in them at home too. 

Temperature regulation 

These aren’t insulated or wind-proof for cold weather, nor are they moisture-wicking for hot days, but if you stick to wearing them in milder conditions, temperature shouldn’t be a problem. 

Breathability 

These aren’t made from breathable fabric, however they are lightweight enough that if you wear them in mild spring and fall conditions, you probably won’t miss it. 

Durability 

These pants don’t come with any added reinforcements, but they’re not really intended for scrambling over rock faces. The quality seems decent, however being made from synthetic materials, they get stinky faster than natural materials and might require more washing, which will break them down faster. That said, if you stick to wearing them for mild weather adventures, they should last you a long time. 

Here’s where we tested the Columbia Women's Firwood Core Trousers: 

Conic Hill is a sharp little summit right on the Highland Boundary Fault, that offers truly fantastic views over Loch Lomond and its many islands.